Press Release 12 November 2007
BARROSO: A COMMON STRATEGY
TO PREPARE FOR A POST-2010 WORLD
Rome, 12 November 2007 - The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said today that the problematic relationship between energy consumption and the environment is "the greatest challenge of our generation."
"If I am asked today what is the most important issue for global security and development, the issue with the highest potential for solutions but also for serious problems if we do not act in the right way, it is energy and climate change," Barroso said during the 20th World Energy Congress. "History will judge us on our ability to manage this challenge and mitigate the worst effects of climate change."
The Commission president described the current relationship between the world's energy needs and the environment as "difficult and untenable." He reiterated the commitments already taken by the European Union and outlined the agenda for the coming months, including those in Bali and Copenhagen where countries will gather to discuss the post-Kyoto future.
"Later this month we will adopt a European Strategic Energy Technology Plan to speed up innovation of energy technologies by pushing European industry to turn the threats of climate change and security of supply into opportunities to increase its competitiveness. As transport continues to be a major contributor to CO2 emissions, the European Commission will also present legislative proposals in December to cut emissions in the automobile sector to 120 grams per kilometre by 2012."
"The 13th UN Climate Change Conference in Bali next month is crucially important for tackling climate change, but it is also important to be realistic. If successful, it will only mark the start of a process, not its culmination. For the EU, it is vital that the world's leaders use Bali to launch serious negotiations on a comprehensive, international, post-2012 agreement on fighting climate change. If negotiations are launched with a view to reaching agreement by 2009 in Copenhagen, this will leave enough time for the new agreement to be ratified and in force before the end of 2012. A tight, but very necessary timetable."
Barroso recalled the key elements on which any agreements should be based:
"Consensus on a shared vision to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, which requires global emissions to be reduced to at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050;"
"Deeper absolute emission reduction commitments by developed countries. That means a 30% reduction for developed countries by 2020; "
"New, flexible and fair commitments from developing countries, to reduce the greenhouse gas emission intensity of their economic development. We do want to cooperate with developing countries to strengthen their contribution to the global reduction effort. By taking bold action now, they can enjoy a win-win situation, because sensible policies to fight climate change also have real non-climate benefits;"
"Extending the carbon market, and including innovative and enhanced flexible mechanisms. This market promises to deliver many of the incentives needed to shift investment into low carbon options, and to help scale up financing of action in developing countries to bring down the emissions intensity of their growth. We need to expand this market, and the launch of the International Carbon Action Partnership in Lisbon two weeks ago, by a coalition of European countries, US states, Canadian provinces, New Zealand and Norway, is a strong step forward in that direction;"
"Increasing cooperation on technology research, development, deployment and transfer. Clearly, extending carbon markets will not be sufficient to bring about the transition to low carbon economies that we have in mind. So we will need additional efforts to bring down the cost of strategically important technologies, and to overcome barriers to market deployment, for example by agreeing on efficiency standards for a range of applications;"
"Appropriate adaptation measures to deal with the effects of climate change. Least developed countries, that are most vulnerable to climate change, need our support in coping with the effects of climate change. But ultimately, all countries need to adapt to unavoidable climate change;"
"Addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transportation. Bringing this sector into the picture is important since it is showing rapidly increasing emissions; and finally action to address deforestation. This is an issue that attracts keen interest from developing countries, as a way of contributing to a post-2012 agreement".
Barroso, in the press conference that followed the speech, also addressed the question of increased energy consumption by China and India, saying he wants the European Union to see the emerging giants as an opportunity and not a challenge.
"We do not expect countries like India and China to take the same commitments as we do. But we do expect them to decouple energy consumption and growth, in line with our common but differentiated responsibilities. But we do want to cooperate with developing countries to strengthen their contribution to the global reduction effort. By taking bold action now, they can enjoy a win-win situation, because sensible policies to fight climate change also have real non-climate benefits."
The World Energy Council in partnership with Oliver Wyman (global consulting firm) has over the past year worked on its third Assessment of country energy and climate policy aiming to identify key areas for policy improvements and to understand how successful policies can be transferred from one country to another. more >